As of today, I weigh 126 lbs (down 41 pounds since the end of my pregnancy on May 25th of THIS YEAR). I admit, the first 22 pounds came off with very little effort (daily walks, light exercise, moderate changes to diet). However, when I got down to about 145, I got more aggressive with my diet and exercise. In less than 2 months, I lost about 19 more pounds.

For the most part, I attribute by success to a disciplined diet and CALORIE COUNTING. I am a member on the fitness social networking site: MY FITNESS PAL which is a GREAT tool in helping track calories and exercise. I encourage anyone who is serious to join the site and take advantage of the free tools!

Considering that I had so much success over the past 3 months, I decided to do a little research on effective diet plans and share some info with my readers. Here is a GREAT article: “The 1200 Calorie Plan,” that is VERY similar to the program that helped me shed the weight.

One of the best ways to lose weight is to cut back on calories. Many people will opt for a 1200-calorie diet to help them shed unwanted pounds. However, it can be hard to be creative with meal planning when you’re on a restricted diet. It’s also important to make sure you get enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in your diet, which can easily be overlooked if you’re focusing on just cutting calories.

Like most diets, you’ll experience more success if you focus your meals on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, and whole grains. When you choose nutrient-rich products you’ll be less likely to experience hunger throughout the day.

If you’re planning cutting calories make a list of your favorite foods and meals you eat on a regular basis. Try to figure out where you can cut back the calories for each of your favorite meals, for example: if you love scrambled eggs for breakfast switch over to scrambled egg whites which only contain 17 calories (one whole egg contains 72 calories). Make sure to use a calorie friendly cooking spray since adding butter and oil can up your calorie intake even in small amounts. The 1200-calorie diet menu is great since it allows you to eat foods you love as long as you don’t exceed 1200 calories each day.

Below is an example meal plan for five days on the 1200-calorie diet. Over the weekend you can treat yourself and indulge in some of your favorite, calorie-high foods but remember, moderation is key and will be most effective if you’re trying to lose weight. (check out the example meal plans HERE)

(My goal is to still get down to 120, but I have decided that it is best that I pace myself so that I am able to sustain my results over the long run, I’ll keep you posted).